ST. PETERSBURG, FL — The Florida Orchestra Musicians Association announced the winners of the annual Justine LeBaron Young Artist Competition, named in remembrance of the former principal French horn of The Florida Orchestra. Forty-one young classical music students from Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties competed in the senior and junior divisions in piano and other instrumental categories. Winners received cash prizes totaling $5,200.
The competition was held Feb. 7 at the Music Center on the Gibbs Campus of St. Petersburg College. Florida Orchestra Music Director Designate Michael Francis spoke to the musicians and handed out trophies and certificates at the awards ceremony.John Wilson, former news anchor of Fox 13 television, was the master of ceremonies.
First place in the senior division in piano (14 to 22 years old) went to Melissa Petrescue, 22, of Largo. She attends St. Petersburg College and studies with Xu Hui. Bo Fei Wang won second prize, and Julia Hossain, third. In the senior instrumental division, Federico Montes, 20, of Tampa took first prize playing trumpet. He attends the University of South Florida, where he studies with Jay Coble.
The competition winners also performed their audition pieces at the afternoon recital following the awards ceremony. Melissa Petrescue played Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor, and Federico Montes performed the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto.
Other winners were Keon Sahebkar, double bass, second place; Maria Kuge, violin, third; Charlotte Meaders, violin, honorable mention; and John Hadden, tuba, honorable mention. The senior division first prize winners will be invited to perform at the next benefit concert of The Florida Orchestra Musicians Association.
The junior division (under 14 years old) winners in piano were Sophia Chen, first prize; Michael Yao, second; and Daniel Dorsey, third. The junior division instrumental winners were Dylan Houchin, violin, first prize; Karishma Chapalamadugu, violin, second; Maximilian Lou, cello, third; Marco Jimenez, violin, honorable mention; and Myra Sexton, violin, honorable mention.
The Florida Orchestra Musicians Association is passionate about making and sharing music with the community, as well as nurturing the next generation of classical musicians. For more information on the group: http://www.floridaorchestramusicians.biz.